“The Police Federation has said it strongly opposes giving Community Support Officers (CSOs) the power to detain suspects for up to 30 minutes.” BBC
The real reason for the action of the Police is not the interests of the CSO’s, it’s that they see their role as being undermined, and they may well have good grounds for believing that, but opposing this is totally totally wrong.
Let’s say I’ve just burgled a house, and a CSO happens across me. He could, or could not, detain me. He could choose to use reasonable force – I have no idea and as such not necessarily a firm idea as to what my actions should be. Not the best solution for either of us given the adrenaline flowing about, but there is some certainty in this: I have no power and I am in the wrong.
Same situation, but the Police have got their way, and CSO’s cannot detain. He happens across me. I KNOW he cannot hold me, he cannot cuff me, he cannot restrain me. Apart from being amused at his impotence right now, although I am in the wrong, I can make him go wrong too can’t I ? I actually have power – I have the power to provoke or otherwise do something that will make the CSO do what he is not allowed to – and as soon as he does, he too is in the wrong. The minor details matter not – he will have done something that he is not allowed to, and I will have made him do it.
As a criminal, I have been empowered (Don’t we just love political correctness ?) and let’s not forget the compensation eh ?
So CSO’s could start fabricating evidence to disguise their actions, CSO’s will be wrongly accused, CSO’s will be stressed out of a job which they are doing for the public good, CSO’s will be in a much worse situation if the Police get their will.
Don’t emasculate CSO’s – give them more: more CS sprays, more cuffs, more backup. CSO’s must be allowed to use force when reasonable to do the job they came into – to remove this is just reducing them to mobile ‘twitching curtains’, and if that’s all you want, the criminals will be delighted.